Time change also means fire safety and energy savings

As most of the the nation prepares to “fall back” Sunday, utility companies and fire safety officials are saying it’s time to think about energy savings and smoke alarms.

Pacific Daylight Time ends at 2 a.m. Sunday, as clocks turn back to 1 a.m.

With it, the International Association of Fire Chiefs and the Energizer battery maker urge everyone to check not only the batteries in their smoke alarms, but also the age of their smoke alarms – which lose effectiveness after 10 years.

A battery only costs a couple of bucks. It’s a lot of insurance for a small price.

Bill Hewett, assistant chief, Bellingham Fire Department

“‘Change your clock, change your batteries,’ that’s the slogan,” said Bill Hewett, assistant chief of the Bellingham Fire Department. “It’s to remind people to change their batteries once a year, even if it’s not chirping.”

Hewett quoted figures from the National Fire Protection Association, which found that 71 percent of smoke alarms that failed to operate had missing, disconnected or dead batteries.

“A battery only costs a couple of bucks. It’s a lot of insurance for a small price,” Hewett said. He noted that national Fire Protection Week, held the second week of October, recently focused on the age of smoke alarms.

“The big reminder was to check the date on your smoke alarm,” Hewett said. “Everything outwardly may look fine, but after 10 years, the reliability decreases. It’s just a good habit to get into.”

Meanwhile, Puget Sound Energy officials encourage residents to use the time change to think about energy savings such as replacing incandescent bulbs with LEDs, which use less energy and last considerably longer than both incandescent and compact fluorescent bulbs.

“We all know that folks will be spending a lot more time indoors,” said Mark Kammerer, a PSE energy-efficiency expert. “It’s a great time of year to start thinking about how to make (your home) a more energy-efficient place.”

Kammerer said WaterSense shower heads offer savings on both water bills and energy bills. He said the newer “low-flow” shower heads don’t sacrifice water pressure.

“People don’t always think about conserving water, especially hot water,” Kammerer said. “The new WaterSense-certified products – they’ve come a long way.”

He said PSE offers discounts, rebates and special programs for lighting, insulation, appliances and water to help its customers reduce their energy costs.

For information, including coupons, go online to pse.com/savenow.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty